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Written Answers - Employment Support Services

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 752 No. 2

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 104.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the extent to which he has examined the full extent of the training, upskilling or temporary placements for the long-term unemployed to emerge in the coming year with particular reference to SOLAS and the need to make a serious and positive impact on unemployment levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3309/12]

 105.  Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  the total expected number of positions to be created for the unemployed through SOLAS in each of the next four years; the extent to which the areas most seriously affected by unemployment are likely to benefit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3310/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Information on Ciaran Cannon Zoom on Ciaran Cannon I propose to take Questions Nos. 104 and 105 together.

[333]The funding provision for further education and training is decided annually as part of the Estimates process. In 2011, the further education and training sector provided almost 300,000 places. In addition, enrolments in the third level sector reached 161,000 and 5,900 places were provided through Springboard. While the final configuration of places is yet to be determined, my Department expects that the level of funding in 2012 will be maintained at these levels. All of these places are open to the unemployed. In addition, the Department of Social Protection will provide almost 49,000 job placement and work experience places in 2012. FÁS and the VECs have been requested to prioritise the long-term unemployed in their 2012 provision. Interim referral protocols, which will facilitate the referral of unemployed people from welfare offices to VEC further education programmes, have been agreed to complement existing referral protocols between welfare offices and FÁS. The establishment of SOLAS, which will have strategic responsibility for the further education and training sector, is part of a wider process of reform, which includes the roll-out of the National Employment and Entitlements Service by the Department of Social Protection. The service will act as a ‘one stop shop’ for unemployed people. Together, these structural reforms will help to ensure unemployed people can speedily access more of the upskilling and reskilling opportunities they need to re-enter the labour market.


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